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2.7m Facebook users protest about new layout

Group urges boycott of new-look social networking site

Facebook users are planning to stage a boycott of the social networking site in a bid to highlight their frustrations over the new-look website.

Nearly 2.7m social networkers have joined the group called '1,000,000 against the new Facebook layout' and members are being urged by the group's leaders not to use the social networking site during October 18 and 19.

It's not the only Facebook group created to protest the new design, which, according to Facebook, has now become the default for almost all of its members. Another group called 'Petition Against the New Facebook' has more than 1.6m backers, while the group 'I hate the new Faceboo' has 1.5m supporters.

It's likely that there is a lot of overlap among these groups' supporters, but if the largest group contains all of those opposed to the new design, that's still a significant number of unhappy members. Facebook has 100m active users.

Facebook has been monitoring these groups, tracking the complaints and reaching out to some of the leaders, a spokeswoman for the company said. Facebook is receptive to feedback from its members, values their enthusiasm for the site and is taking their suggestions into account for future design improvements, she said.

Jessica Fishbein, a school teacher who is one of the administrators of the 1,000,000 against the new Facebook layout group, begs to differ. "Facebook, which normally cared about the feedback of people, just made this decision, didn't really care what the users thought and isn't really responding to feedback," she said. "People are very upset."

Fishbein said that neither she nor the group's other administrator had been contacted by Facebook, although Fishbein has written to the company with links and information about the group and asking for help. She said she and her fellow administrator had to oust the group's creator after he tried to profit from its massive popularity for commercial reasons. Indeed, they haven't been able to scrub his commercial pitch from the group description, despite asking Facebook for help, she said.

Fishbein, like many redesign critics, dislikes the new tabbed interface because she feels it forces people to do too much clicking around to see and find things. She preferred the more consolidated look and feel of the old design. She also finds the overall effect of the new design to be "very in-your-face," whereas the previous layout was, in her view, less strident and more discreet.

Fishbein realises that Facebook is unlikely to revert to its old design, but she feels the company could earn a lot of points with its members if it acknowledges the main criticisms and makes modifications.

NEXT PAGE: Facebook's goals with the new-look site


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